What is the task of the conservators?
The conservators of the ICP are in charge of preserving the collection of the Institut.
That is to say, to extend the life of the fossil collection so that future generations can know and enjoy it.
With this purpose, conservators look for new materials to better pack and preserve fossils, discard aggressive materials from the pieces, control the climate of the warehouses and make sure users use good practices to manipulate the material.
On the other hand, the conservators also manage any fossil movement that takes place in the Institut. They manage everything from entering new specimens into the center, transferring fossils to the laboratory, checking out fossils by researchers, cataloguing and giving them abbreviations, labeling them, to packing them and storing them.
They are also in charge of inquiries on the part of the investigators, the loans, the exhibitions, the creation of data bases, the return of materials that other centers have given to the ICP, and the management of return of our own materials that are on loan for study at other institutions.
Other tasks of the conservators are to guarantee entering the originating fossil remains from the different participating paleontological institutions from which the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont is a temporary or permanent depot for its study and scientific research.
Also they are the people in charge of creating standards or protocols so that the materials coming from participating paleontological institutions all arrive in optimal condition to the center.
Last term, the conservators of the ICP participated in training efforts; they attended courses just like students or professors in order to be completely up-to-date on the latest techniques and methods.
What is a fossil collection?
The collection of the ICP is used to research and exhibit what it is investigated. Our collection includes pieces that are catalogued and exhibited, those in the warehouse waiting to be prepared, those in the laboratory as well as the replicas of other fossils. In this way, every fossil that is in the Institut is catalogued in a single data base with all the information for each piece. This includes, date entered the center, date and processes of preparation, cataloguing, photographs taken, exhibitions in which the piece has participated and publications where it appears.
The collection has strict links to the historical archive and all documents involving them because without them it is impossible to understand the collection. They contain images and information that explain the history of every piece.
How many fossils are in the ICP collection and where do they come from?
The ICP collection keeps growing; it contains more than one hundred seventy thousand fossils that are between 240 million years and the 10,000 years old. It is considered one of the most important collections of fossil vertebrates in Europe. The units of vertebrates of the collection can be divided into; macrovertebrates, with almost sixty thousand prepared and catalogued fossils, and microvertebrates, with more than forty thousand fossil subtractions, mainly rodent and insectivore teeth.
On the other hand, there is also a good representation of fossilized vegetation originating mainly from Catalan deposits as well as the Vidal and Carreras invertebrates collection, which includes more than two thousand specimens. The origins of the pieces are diverse. From Catalonia, there are faunas coming from regions like Pallars, Berguedà, Vallès, Penedès and Anoia. But also there are some from the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, and several points of the Iberian Peninsula, for example from the river basin of Guadix-Baza, in Andalusia, Murcia, Madrid and the river basin of Calatayud-Daroca, in Aragon.
There are also specimens coming from the Languedoc (France), North Africa and the state of Nebraska (in the U.S.A.).
What is a Tipoteca?
Another valuable addition to the ICP collection is its Tipoteca (Special Collection), which includes those fossils that have been used to describe new species. The two hundred pieces that comprise it are unequivocal testimony to the important work of the investigators of the Institut and the patrimonial importance of the collection.
The collection of the IPC has always been for the purposes of scientific studies and other exhibition and pedagogical uses. Today, the materials of the collection are available to researchers. For this reason, the Institut has lists of conditions and a consultation request sheet.
the other hand, the loans that involve the paleontological material leaving the premises are limited to very specific cases and are regulated by special rules.
Another way of presenting our paleontological patrimony is through the exchange of replicas with other institutions or research centers, while at the same time the resources of the Institut are expanded with material.